queen for a year

Wanted to share some exciting & potentially jealousy-inducing news (sorry!): I won a $1000 spa gift certificate last week!  Obviously, I'm over the moon.  Like every other woman on the planet, I love me a spa visit.  Massage, facial or manicure, it really doesn't matter - it's the experience of being pampered & waited on that's so... oh, what is it?  DIVINE.  I'd go as far as to say the experience is about as close as we American "commoners" ever get to feeling like royalty.

Now, I should mention that with the royal experience also comes a royally expensive price tag, which is why it's not something I treat myself to very often.  I can count the number of massages I've had in my life on both hands, and manicures, for the most part, went out the door with the arrival of Baby S.  So, when I saw a spa giveaway on Babybites, one of my favorite websites, naturally I signed up! 

You can read all about how the giveaway was created here, but this is the gist: Lemi Shine (an environmentally-friendly dish washing detergent that specializes in hard water stains) wanted to do something nice for moms.  The giveaway was their way of thanking us for our "word of mouth" promoting, which has made them one of the most popular cleaning products in America.  Sufficed to say, if the next apartment we live in actually has a dishwasher, I'll be stocking up.

Now, I didn't think for a moment that I would actually win the giveaway (moral of the story: you just never know!).  The question posed for comments was to name a New Years Resolution.  My answer?  Don't sweat the small stuff (still struggling with this one).  I'm thinking, though, that using my spa gift card this year may actually help achieve this resolution... hee hee

Babybites & Lemi Shine - thanks once again!


girls night out

Let's face facts... you become a mom, you don't go out much anymore.  I'm not complaining, mind you.  Priorities change and reservations at the hip new restaurant or show aren't as important anymore.  As a working mom, I treasure the time I have with Baby S in the evenings, and there is nothing quite like seeing the way her face lights up when I walk through the door.  As tired as I might be, that smile will always perk me up.  And inevitably, shortly after I get home, off goes the makeup and on go the sweatpants.

With that said, I do think it's important - if not crucial - to maintain some semblance of the life you had pre-baby.  Having at least one conversation with your husband per night that doesn't involve poopy diapers should be a goal, even though it might not happen on a daily basis.  You gotta start somewhere, right?

Once you become a mother, maintaining friendships naturally becomes a bit harder because you simply don't have as much free time anymore.  As a result, I believe those relationships become that much more worthwhile.  You simply NEED to go out with your girlfriends and have a date night with your husband every once in a while.  To remember that underneath the sweatpants and the pureed peas in your hair, you're also a friend - a wife - a daughter - perhaps a sister.  You're a woman, after all.

I was reminded of that last week when I headed out to a special evening co-hosted by La Petite Coquette, a lingerie store in Greenwich Village, and the lovely Jill from Glamamom.  One of the benefits to blogging is that I've gotten to casually know a group of other NYC (mostly mom) bloggers through Twitter, Facebook, etc.  On Thursday eve, I met many of them in person for the first time.  What a treat!  How fun to see that these women are as real and personable as they come across on their respective blogs.  Amongst the wine & cheese, there was lingerie to "ooh" & "ahh" over & I also got a MUCH needed bra fitting.  Believe me when I say "the girls" are happy to have gotten a lift!  TMI?  After the event, a group of us went out to dinner & continued the party.

There's no question that I used to take my free time for granted.  I thought nothing of going out to dinner or shopping with friends or a movie night with Husband.  These days, while it's true those outings are more limited, they're also VALUED so much more, & I can guarantee I'm having an even better time than I used to.  A little break here & there (and a couple new bras!) leaves me refreshed and re-energized to re-enter the world of Mommywood, and I can guarantee we're all the better for it.

The endlessly girly & FAB La Petite Coquette is generously extending a 15% discount off your online purchases until February 13th (Hello, Valentine's Day!) Enter code ILUVLPC at checkout.  Thank you, thank YOU to the other sponsors of the evening: the jeweler Lia Sophia & Knockout Cosmetics - a true boost for this sweatpant-dependent mama!!


review: cellphone postcards

Fellow NYC blogger Sandra of It's Always An Adventure recently alerted me to a new business created by a friend of hers.  Immediately after checking out the site, I had one of those "Duh!  Why didn't I think of that?!" moments.  Gotta love feeling enlightened & stupid at the same time.

Cellphone Postcards is, well, exactly that.  After setting up a free account on their site (where you'll input friends & family contact info into your private address book), take a picture with your cell phone.  Then, send the photo as a text (including card message) to the company and they will create a postcard of that photo and send it to anyone you like.  It really is that easy.  You can also send postcards via the website by uploading photos from your computer and/or Facebook account.

Each card - including postage - costs 99 cents to send in the US ($1.98 International) but here's the best part - as it's a new site & they are looking to gain customers, your first 10 cards are free!  I only have 3 left....

Who knew ol' fashioned snail mail could be so high tech? 


big apple books

Highlighting 2 books by the talented Christoph Niemann this week--


Mr. Niemann, an illustrator and children's book author, was inspired to create Subway after writing a comical blog post for the New York Times, regarding his sons love of the NYC subway system (The two happiest words Arthur and Gustav can hope to hear are “service changes”).  His children's sheer delight over mass transit got me to thinking about the first time I griped about the subway.  In fact, I'm guilty of this on a weekly basis.  If only we could all share the excitement and wonder of a child, right?  Niemann's illustrations bring the underground system to life for children and adults alike.

I Lego N.Y.

In this book, Niemann creates a "playful homage to New York" with the help of Legos.  I have to say this book is as much fun for adults as it is for kids-- I just love viewing his version of the Big Apple through colorful plastic Lego bricks.  In fact, one page made me laugh out loud, as it brought to mind our return trip home after Christmas, waiting for hours- literally, HOURS - to get inside the Holland Tunnel from New Jersey.  From Starbucks to taxi cabs, Niemann recreates the things we love and loathe about NYC with a sense of humor and creativity.  I look forward to what he'll come up with next! 


we have a winner!

Congratulations, Paula!  A Beech-nut toddler gift bag worth $75 will be on its way to you shortly...
I hope you & your little one enjoys it!


a beech-nut giveaway for your toddler

I am kicking off the new year with my 1st ever giveaway!

Baby S, having moved into the toddler phase, is currently eating everything she can put her little hands on. As a result, I am constantly running out of ideas of what to give her, what's healthy & what's not totally boring after having it 3 nights in a row. I often interpret her babbling to mean, "What say you, mother, peas AGAIN?!" Little genius.

Beech-Nut was kind enough to send me a gift bag of their recently introduced Homestyle Steamies meals for toddlers, made with natural ingredients & no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The Homestyle Steamies are steam-cooked to lock in flavor and improve texture (a technology that’s new to toddler food), and each meal is packaged in re-sealable, re-useable tubs that are microwaveable and BPA-free. This way you can save time and feel good about what you’re feeding your little one (and guilt-free about how you’re serving it).

Thanks to Beech-nut, I now have some easy-to-prepare options to serve Baby S, & the food is one I can feel good about, too. And speaking of warm fuzzies, Beech-nut would like to pass along another gift bag to one lucky Baby Meets City reader!

The Beech-Nut All Natural Holiday Tote (valued at $75!) includes:
- An oversized organic cotton tote
- A roll of “plantable” gift wrap and gift tags
- Organic cotton fruit & veggie toys
- Samples of new Beech-Nut Homestyle Steamies and coupons for more free meals
-Feeding tips for toddlers (how to make meal time fun, etc).

FYI: While this is technically a "holiday" tote, the wrapping paper is a design you can use all year round. The tags you might want to wait to use until next holiday season.

2 easy ways to enter:
1- Sign up to be a follower of Baby Meets City
2- "Like" Baby Meets City on Facebook

Please leave a separate comment for each entry (& a way to reach you) or only one will be counted, and if you are already a follower/fan, just let me know by leaving a comment as well. This giveaway ends Monday, January 10th at 11:59pm EST and is open to US residents only. A winner will be picked via Random.org on Tuesday and announced here on Baby Meets City, Twitter & Facebook.

Good luck!


to grandmother's house we go

Last month, Husband and I pondered back and forth about our Christmas travel.  We're on the "switcheroo" holiday plan - one year with his family, one year with mine.  It has worked out well so far, though throwing in a (not so little anymore) bambina makes travel "challenging."  And challenging is the nice word for it.

My parents moved to Georgia a couple of months ago, and they are no longer within a direct flight route from NYC.  After much back and forth, we decided to drive.  We got a lot of strange looks when we shared this decision.  No less than 10 people uttered the words "portable DVD player" and promised to pray we would still be talking to each other upon our arrival.  Such a vote of confidence!  The truth is, we really enjoy being behind the wheel, though that's probably because we only drive a handful of times a year.  We are always ready to turn the car in by the end of the trip (being stuck in traffic is MADDENING!!) but there is something romantic to me about setting out in a car, with adventure just around the corner.  Must admit our Chrysler Sebring wasn't SO romantic, I was thinking more of a vintage convertible on a sunny day, but you get the idea... 

I'm happy to report we survived our "jaunt" down I-95, though we couldn't have done it without the help of some very important people and F&B institutions: Thanks to overnight stays with friends in NC on the way down and VA on the way home.  Being able to break up the trip kept us sane.  Thanks to Chick-Fil-A... words can't describe how I love you.  To the 7-11 Big Gulp, your caffeine helped me stay focused on the drive and to Starbucks, who knew I could even find you connected to a gas station.  To the Cracker Barrel gift shop, thank you for keeping my child entertained on a breakfast pit stop.  And speaking of Baby S, she was a rock star in the car.  Sure, she had her moments, but overall she did really well, especially since she'd never been in a car for more than 2 hours at a time (and yes, we were taking a bit of a gamble by embarking on this trip)!

Our Christmas was lots of fun and it was wonderful being with family.  I got to meet my niece for the first time, so that was definitely the highlight.  Baby S checked her out a few times but was more interested in my parents' dogs and their wagging tails than a baby in a bouncy seat.  Maybe next time.  All in all, it was a great visit, and my parents were thrilled to have both grandchildren under one roof.

Though I was not in the house or town I grew up in, the old adage is true:

Home is where the heart is.  And the heart of home is family. 

I hope your holiday was as merry, and I wish you all a FABULOUS 2011!!
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